AD's English Literature : The Canonization by John Donne: Love Poem Which Achieves its Emotional Effect Through Intellectual Predominance

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Canonization by John Donne: Love Poem Which Achieves its Emotional Effect Through Intellectual Predominance

TheConnotation by John Donne reveals an intellectual predominance and it is intensely personal. Through a complex network of contrasts and paradoxes, images and religious fables here in this poem the poet seeks to declare the sanctity of his love.
The composition of Donne’s poem, The Canonization is after his marriage with Anne More. It is because he in his this poem at the very outset speaks of his ruined fortune and he ascribe the blight upon his fortune to his marriage. Though he feels quite undone, he does not know any abatement in the intensity of his love for Anne. He is so lost in his amour that he does not care a hang for the cursing tongue of others and the opening line appears to be bursting with loving impulses laced with impatience and defiance: “For Gods shake hold your tongue, and let me love.” The ruling passion of his life is love and he has no regard for the riches of the world. He does not for every person who amass fortune by currying favors with the royally. In availed lone of disdain he speaks of their craving for earthly gains and forbids them to interfere with his love making:
"With wealth your mind with arts improve, 
 Take you a course, get you a place,  Or the king real, or his stamped face"

Donne says that his world has contracted to his companionship with his wife, and he looks upon her as his anchorage. This experience of oneness I love is a recurrent mollify in his love poems. In The Anniversaries he makes an emphatic declaration of this primacy of love that admits of no this else in life: “Here upon earth, we are king.” It is also akin to the idea of selsufficiency in love that finds an expression in The Sunni Rising: “She is all states, and all princes I: This themes of the suoemacy of mutual love is not in the vein of pert arch who, in terms of extravagant hyperboles, writes complicacy verses of adoration.
The poet talks more about the nature of love in terms of a host of images in the third stanza. Here he presents the traditional image the fly and the taper with a slight variation. Here the lover and the beloved are flies and tapers:
“Call her a one, me another fly, 
  We are tapers too, and at our own cost die.”

John Donne
Love is no mere transient passion. It is not the passion which slackens in the least and has the readiness to go to the extreme even to embrace death for its consummation.
The poet reinforces three more images: ‘this Eagle’, ‘the Dove’ and ‘the phoenix’. By the process he further explains his love experiences. In the medieval fable the old eagle flies up to the sun and is scored and then plumages in to a wall to renew in youthful energy. This image explains the central idea of love tha5t hopes to renew itself through dying. The image of dove has a religious overtone and life have for each other. In the New Testament there is an accent of the Holy Ghosh descending upon Christ at the time of his baptism mal ceremony, life a dove. T.S. Eliot uses these images of the dove upon Christ in Four Quartets as a symbol of the purifying fire of God’s love and looks upon it as ‘The only hope or else despair.’ Donne correlates this mining of dove with his love and the love they exhibit has a purgatorial value. The phoenix image also explains the basic idea of love. That discovers sense of fulfillment in undergoing pain. The phoenix renews her youth only when she is burnt, burnt alive. It is also recorded as one neutral thing (sex)’ the poet uses the images of eagle and phoenix because both are images of renew al or resurrection. In his poem, phoenix, D.H. Lawrence says, “she is renewing her youth like the eagle” The idea of death is ambient: party negative and party positive and poet play on the identity of implications:
“We die and rise the same and prove   
 Mysterious by this love.”

The expression we die and rise the same is paradoxical in the sense that the poet feels crucified to the words, but he gains by cleansing himself of the cross.
The piety feels the consecration of love and becomes a saint or martyr of love:
“And by these hymns, all shall approve
Us canonized for love.”
      j. Smith rightly avers, …..at one level there is a consummation of religioamoris, on which the poem is bult “(Celebration of Donne)

The poet does not have any regret that the lovers do not have any glamorous trappings of a hero recorded in a legend or a chronicle. He says that their canonization for love is without any fanfare, without any pretensions. It comes to them through their steadfastness and constancy in love in the face of all adversities. The experiences have nothing transcendental about it. It is rooted in the stark reality of life. It becomes an archetypal pattern of love worthy of emulation, it others choose so:
“And thus invoke us; you whom reverend lone
Made one another’s hermitage”

This apotheosis of love intercedes with the god of love himself on behalf love. Lovers are still struggling for the heroic resolution to make their love complete. Finally, overruling the skepticism of the other person, the poet develops a magnificent vision that incorporates the whole world consisting of countries, towns and courts in to its capacious domain. The poet in terms of the images of the image of the ‘glasses’ of the eyes says that the whole world shrinks and becomes reflected in the eyes of the beloved.


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